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Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

Effective range of Kassam and Katyusha rockets.  (Source: Koret Communications Ltd.)
Residents in Sderot have had enough of rocket attacks and want the laser-based Nautilus system in place

DailyTech recently discussed the use of military-grade laser used as weapons in a number of articles. Boeing installed a 12,000-pound, high-energy laser into its C-130H Gunship and Northrop Grumman has similar "laser ambitions" with the Guardian anti-missile system installed in an MD-10 cargo jet.

While Americans are typically apathetic to the use of such technology for military duties, some residents in Israel are clamoring to have laser-based weapons as a safety net for their towns. Sderot residents have gone so far as to sue the Israeli government -- more specifically, they named Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as defendants in the civil suit.

The Sderot residents want the Israeli government to install the Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) system to protect the region from Kassam and Katyusha rockets. Sderot has been heavily bombarded with such rockets over the years which have resulted in numerous deaths. The residents feel that suing the government may be its only chance for protection against further attacks.

"Israel could bring the system to Sderot and use it to protect the people there from Kassam rockets," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner who heads the Israel Law Center which represents the Sderot residents. "In 1996, when Israel was under threat from Lebanon, Israel asked the United States to help them establish a system to protect northern settlements from Katyusha rockets. This system, called Nautilus, shot down Katyushas, Kassams and bombs with 100 percent success."

Unfortunately for the Sderot residents, the Nautilus program stalled in 2005 after ten years of development and $400 million USD spent between Israel and the United States. Since that time, rocket fire has increased which has led the Israeli government to develop yet another system dubbed "Iron Dome." The Iron Dome system will cost the government $100,000 for each incoming rocket it destroys – if it destroys them at all. Recent tests show that Iron Dome is incapable of protecting Sderot from incoming Kassam rockets.

"[Nautilus is] just sitting there in New Mexico. There is a way to take it apart, bring it to Israel and rebuild it," Darshan-Leitner continued. "A company told me that it would take no longer than five or six months. It would cost around 50 million dollars to rebuild it, but there would be unlimited protection against Katyushas, Kassams, and bombs."

Despite Darshan-Leitner's optimism of the performance of the Nautilus system -- she quotes an extremely optimistic 100 perfect effective rate -- a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry says that such claims are preposterous. "As long as there was a chance that the results would lead to a functional, effective missile defense system we stuck with the program. But in 2005 the US military backed out of the program because it wasn't working, and we decided to end our involvement as well," said spokesman Shlomo Dror.

Despite the concerns from Sderot residents, Dror tried to express that the government is working hard to provide protection for its citizens.

"There is no way to put a price tag on the trauma caused by living with the ongoing threat from, and even more for people injured or even killed by Kassam attacks, God forbid," said Dror. "We are spending as much as we need to in order to develop the most effective system we can to protect residents of Sderot and the entire western Negev region."

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RE: Peace
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/13/2008 7:36:57 PM , Rating: 0
OK, first:

Strange then that so many people, especially in the USA, look to the bible for their morals.Yet those same people, morally locked in the bronze age, happily drive cars, fly on planes and generally enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

There is a great reason for this: the Bible developed Christian nations (like the USA, who lets other religions practice freely in the country as long as it does not harm others). The different denomination of the church in these countries then created great schools: Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Princeton, your basic Ivy league school. These schools were started by the church when the average person could not read. Then these schools helped advance (not start) the scientific progress to were it is today. So people of the Bible say to you; you are welcome...If was not for these people and their following of the Bible you and I would most likely be one of the masses like the past that could not read and write. The Bible does not stop the study of sciences, thinking, and other developments, no far from it...It is perhaps the largest encourager of the advancement of the scientific process.

Second Mexico never had any part of the USA. Mexico is almost 100 years younger then the USA. The current people of Mexico broke away from Spain who took the land from Inca's and the Aztec's Indians hundreds of years before that (and other Indian cultures that were in that location). No the Aztec's and Inca's (and others) did not take Mexico back. It's a new line of people, they have a new culture, new life style and a new language. If you disagree then ask the next Mexican to speak the native tongue of his forefathers...they will most likely will speak Spanish and not Inca...Does anyone know how to speak these old languages anywhere??
The Jewish people still practice the same life style (with technology changes of course: ride in a car instead of on a horse....), they still speak the same language of Hebrew, and they still carry on the same religious practices as when the Muslim armies came and took the great holy temple away from them and then started to call it Mecca. They may have lost their land, they may speak several additional and different languages, but they have never lost their ways. So, no it would not be at all like if Mexico came up and tried to “reclaim” the land.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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